Thursday, September 28, 2017

Meeting The Needs of Individual Learners


Meeting The Needs of Individual Learners

Last week’s email blast had a letter attached explaining the curriculum updating process we are working through with the diocese. If you missed that letter you can access it on Miss Giroux’s Information Page on All Saints Academy’s website.

For this week’s blog we want to highlight what we do day-to-day and connect how the vision and mission of ASA to meet the needs of individual learners through spiritual, intellectual, moral, social and physical development drive curriculum implementation.


At ASA we believe that we can all grow so we emphasize meeting each of our learners where they are at to help them grow. We are just finishing the first round of MAPs testing for this school year. MAPs is an individualized, adaptive test that indicates skills readiness and growth. It helps teachers identify the skills students are ready to work on and also allows them to track growth from year to year. In the next few weeks teachers will being looking at their classes’ data to develop goals for instruction and also learning goals with students.




Spiritual development is woven into every day at ASA. There are numerous opportunities for prayer throughout the day. Students participate in Mass and liturgical music. We have daily religion classes, Catechesis of the Good Shepherd and a number of retreat options throughout the school year. At ASA we believe that all things are possible through Christ and we prioritize staying connected with Him in all that we do so that we can rely on His support in times of need.






At ASA we believe that creativity and innovation promote success. It is hard to miss the creative and innovative intellectual development happens every day in so many different ways at All Saints Academy. Tech tools are integrated into our class work to enhance our learning. Small groups for target skills practice or group collaboration can be seen working throughout both building daily. Projects that allow students to launch or publish their learning are proudly shared. Hands on investigations are woven into all classes to give students a chance to learn by doing, interacting, and problem solving.





Like spiritual development, moral development and character development are woven into all aspects of our daily learning routines also. From our school wide work on Positive Behavior Supports to student led memorials honoring our country ASA students have plenty of chances to practice loving and serving. They are also practicing empathy by encouraging each other with bucket filling and Eagle Pride Shout Outs.





Learning is very much a social endeavor. There are plenty of opportunities to work on social development at ASA daily. Students have time to build friendships at lunch and while they play! We also provide intentional social skill building opportunities by bringing in experts like Jeff Veley to work with students, parents and teachers on building resilience through the peace sign approach and other social skills practice. We also give students opportunities throughout the year to tackle teambuilding and group problem solving activities. When social conflicts arise teachers and staff respond with Time to Think reflections opportunities, discussions about virtues and character traits to improve on and ways to make reparations when necessary.




7th adding integers on the number line

Physical development is also an important part of what we do at ASA. It is emphasized at recess, and camp, through outdoor explorations, kinesthetic math activities like walking actual coordinate grids, and middle school sports offerings.

Inspired by the Holy Spirit and dedicated to teaching and living as Jesus did we work to tie all of these aspects of the development into all our learning experiences at ALL Saints Academy, aiming to prepare our students to make a positive impact on others.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

8th Grade Camp 2017


8th Grade Camp 2017, Paschal Mystery Retreat and Beyond...
“Set your mind on things above, not on earthly things.” Colossians 3:2

At the start of 8th grade each year there are a series of ASA beliefs and core value related projects that the staff plan to help the 8th grade class set the tone for their leadership year. These projects start with a day at Camp Manitou Lin.

We Are One & All things are possible through Christ: At camp students work through a series of teambuilding and goal setting activities. They are given the chance to practice outdoor survival skills (fire starting and shelter construction), try horseback riding, climb a rock wall, and navigate a high ropes course. During each of these activities students are reminded that they need to both rely on their teammates to help them accomplish the task, and they also need to cheer on their teammates. As Caitlin M. reflected afterwards
“I learned the power of cheering on others!”

“I would give a shout out to our whole class because we all tried something new and we enjoyed it.” - Hannah

We Can All Grow: After camp students return to school for a potluck dinner with their parents. At this dinner students share their camp experiences with their parents and also spend some time talking about their goals for their 8th grade year. This year students set goals for:
  • Academic growth
  • Spiritual growth
  • Personal growth

During dinner students shared shout outs for different classmates showing leadership, teamwork, courage, and communication skills. They also celebrated their parents who took time to join them at various points during the day.

Faith: The day after camp the 8th grade class returns to school for their class retreat day, starting with Mass at 8:30 am with the St Jude parishioners. The 8th grade retreat is themed around The Paschal Mystery and the bible verse the 8th grade selected for their 8th grade year. This year’s 8th grade selected Colossian 3:2 as their verse:
“Set your mind on things above, not on earthly things.”

Take a moment to watch these videos of the 8th grade explaining why they selected this as their class verse:

Students spent their retreat day this year setting their minds on things above by reflecting on what it means to “die to self” so that we can rise with Christ. They finalize the design of their class shirt to proudly proclaim their class verse during Catholic Schools Week and other various community events. There is also some element of community service worked into the day. This retreat day ends with the class praying The Stations of the Cross together.


Creativity and Innovation: With the added celebration this year of 10 years of ASA, the 8th grade class spent their service time during retreat this year starting a few 10 year celebration projects for the entire school. This included the initial planning for an ASA Time Capsule and the first of 10 ASA Student Top 10 lists. The Time Capsule will be packed with the entire community during Alleluia Day in the spring. The 8th grade’s Top 10 List of ASA will be announced at the end of September.

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Serving: Shortly after camp and retreat, the 8th grade is invited to volunteer at the Grand Rapids Bridge Run. This is a great opportunity to give back to our local community and cheer on some of our own ASA adult athletes (Mrs. Farnquist, Mrs. McKinney, Mrs. Hormuth, Mr. Schmalzel…). It is also an event that tends to prompt families to show up together to volunteer.

Learning: In October, on the day of the All A’s Walk for Catholic Central and West Catholic, we invite our alumni, who are now freshmen, to return to All Saints Academy for a few hours to eat with the 8th grade class and share the advice they have after completing their first month of high school.

Forming Saints to Serve All: Shortly after their visit from our ASA Freshmen Alumni, the 8th grade students will begin celebrating The Sacrament of Confirmation with their parishes. This year Confirmation for Blessed Sacrament candidates is October 11th and October 17th for St. Alphonsus candidates. Confirmations for St Jude and St Isidore parishes have yet to be scheduled but will likely take place in the spring.

Putting it all together and applying our developing leadership skills throughout the school year:

Faith: During Lent, the 8th grade class will prepare and present a Living Stations of the Cross meditation for the entire ASA school community to start our Via Dolorosa Walk between campuses.

Learning: Again this year we will host the High School Placement Test for both West and Catholic Central at ASA in January.

Loving: Shortly after the first ASA parish Confirmation, 8th grade parents will begin meeting to plan 8th Grade Fun Day. This is a final day of celebration and fun, together as a class, for the 8th grade before their graduation. Prior to the fun day, the 8th grade will pass the leadership of ASA to the current 7th grade at the leadership Mass. They will also travel to our 4 parishes for a day of service, and they will spend time reflecting on how they will continue to live the ASA Core Values as A Graduate of ASA.

Serving: The 8th grade has begun working with Mrs. Zimelis on their Service Corp Projects for this year. They will partner with a local organization and complete service hours with that group during school release work days. In the spring the All Saints Academy community is invited to gather at the middle school to hear about the work the 8th grade students participates in with their chosen community partner. Check out the blog of last year’s 8th grade class’s Service Corp projects here.

These are just the highlights of 8th grade year here at All Saints Academy. There are amazing things happening here each day in all grades. Continue to check back here for more stories from both students and teachers and check out social media accounts for daily snapshots of life at ASA.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

ASA Spirit Store Grand Opening

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All Saints Academy Spirit Store Grand Opening

Have you checked out the new All Saints Academy Spirit Store yet? We have a few introductory options for ASA family members of all ages and sizes! From onesies to dress shirts and drawstring bags to sweatshirts each style has a few color, logo and size options to add items to your  wardrobe. Items in the store are great for proudly proclaiming your ASA Eagle Pride at weekend games and school spirit days!

You can place and pay for your order online. It will be delivered to the school, and we will get it to you or your student. If there is a style you would like but do not see, please contact the middle school office. As this gets going we would like feedback on what items people have interest in seeing added.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

... to Serve All


All Saints Academy families, you should be so proud!

I sat in 4th grade religion class Wednesday morning and listened to students offer intentions for peace, for those impacted by recent hurricanes, for family, for friends, and the list went on from there.

Last week a 5th grader approached me and asked if we could do $1 jeans days for Hurricane Harvey Relief, and a 7th grader emailed me with a penny war suggestion for the same cause. There have been a number of other hurricane relief ideas surfacing from various ASA community members including a Paws With A Cause donation box!

Service is a core value at ASA, but also a mindset. It is obvious to me that ASA students are always thinking about others and how they can “help.”

So, inspired by our students, the $1 jeans day money we collect this week will be sent to and NCEA initiative for Catholic Schools across the nation to support relief efforts for school children in Texas and Louisiana.

Another way we will be giving back to those affected by Hurricane Harvey is by partnering with PAWS with a Cause.  See the blurb below to see how you can help!  Boxes will be placed at both All Saints Academy Campuses through Friday, September 15, 2017.

PAWS To Give Back
Unleash the power of teamwork.
As an organization PAWS strives to live out our core values in the work that we do. Two of those are core values are leadership and teamwork. These state that PAWS believes in doing what is right, leading by example, and believes that everyone has the ability to make a positive contribution.
With this in mind, and in the wake of Hurricane Harvey, PAWS will be leading a community-wide relief drive to support the people and animals that have been impacted by this disaster.
Staff and volunteers have been working hard over the last few days to coordinate over 30 locations across west Michigan that will be housing donation boxes, arranging a kickoff venue, and creating messaging for this effort.
PAWS staff and volunteers will be dropping off boxes at the specified locations, and picking up the full boxes and bringing all of the donated supplies back to PAWS to be organized.

Items for All:
Towels:  all sizes
Paper towels
Kleenex tissues
Toilet paper
Hand soap; liquid and hard
Hand sanitizer
AA and AAA Batteries
Hydrogen peroxide
Rubbing alcohol
Cotton balls and Q-tips
Shop Vacs (wet/dry)
Trash bags: any size

Children and Babies
Underclothing : all sizes ( new and in the package)
  t-shirts, onesies, underwear ( new and in the package)
Socks ( new and in the package)
Baby wipes
Diaper rash ointments
Baby shampoo
Diapers (all sizes)
Hydrogen peroxide
Rubbing alcohol
Sippy cups/thermos

Shaving items
Socks (new and in the package)
Men’s Underwear ( new packages only)
Women’s underclothing ( new and in package only)

Items for our furry friends:
Leashes and collars- all sizes
Cat and dog beds
Pet toys and cat nip
Puppy pads
Kitty litter and litter pans (small and medium)
Canned foods
Treats (not jerky please)
Blankets and comforters
Towels: large bath towels
Dog igloos
Paper towels
Baby wipes
Dog Food
Cat Food